Bali, commonly known among the locals as the “Island of the Gods,” has always boasted stunning natural landscapes including tropical rainforests, impressive mountains, and heavenly beaches. Balinese people traditionally used only organic materials leaving no waste behind, however with the arrival of mass tourism and the introduction of plastics, non-degradable waste is now covering Bali from top to bottom. It is estimated that 20,000 cubic meters of rubbish are left behind by 3.5 million tourists every day increasing the proliferation of illegal waste dumps and polluting local waterways and farms.
To achieve this objective, since its origins, Eco Bali provided sustainable solutions to waste management problems while increasing awareness on environmental best practices among individuals, communities, and businesses through training and coaching sessions. The initiative also provided a custom waste-collection service, material recycling, and installation of composting systems for households and businesses.
One of these services, for example, seeks to enable people to separate waste and promote better utilization of waste through recycling and composting, while ensuring that the residue is disposed only in legal landfills. Another project involves the organization of programs at schools, with games and fun activities, to get the next generation educated and involved. “We wanted to change the mindset; the approach of how to deal with waste by not littering and not burning,” says Paola Cannucciar, one of the EcoBali’s members. “Education is part of our service.”
Eco Bali also has started a long lasting collaboration with Tetra Pak Indonesia in order to start the collection and recycling of Tetra Pak cartons that are now 100 percent recyclable. This alliance with Tetra Pak implies the collection and recycling of more than 140 tons annually and involves more than 5,000 children and 21 hotels in environmental educational programs. Through these types of programs, EcoBali has involved a high number of partners among local and international schools, as well as many hotels via the Bali Hotel Association.
Furthermore, the initiative is sustained by the selling of products made of recycled material, such as roofing material and glassware. Also, installation of composting systems and training sessions provide financial sustainability to the organization.
Thanks to composting organic waste, more than 50 percent of the waste is converted into rich topsoil and doesn’t end up in landfills creating noxious gasses, especially when it is put in plastic garbage bags. “The process of composting it’s easy” says Paola Cannuciari. “We first go and inspect the premises, then according to the needs we install systems that are different for food scraps and for garden clips (this is to ensure that food scraps are dealt with properly and efficiently). We provide bins and installation, a start up kit and follow up. It is a very easy system”.
Bali’s waste management problems, or those in any other country in the world, take a long time to be solved and require the collaboration of many entities. However, Eco Bali is a successful case and it has already achieved in the last 10 years a waste reduction of around 50-70 percent, collecting an average of 15 tons of non-organic waste every month.
“The right people, at the right time, in the right place creates the possibilities to get together like-minded people, Indonesians and foreigners, to do something good for everyone. "
Initiatives like Eco Bali show and teach that local effort can bring great results to a whole region, and as Paola put it: “The right people, at the right time, in the right place creates the possibilities to get together like-minded people, Indonesians and foreigners, to do something good for everyone. (Eco Bali) is very positive because it creates examples on local levels, which may be implemented throughout the country and the world”.